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Duke takes size advantage to Wake

If balance is the key to success, the odds are in Duke"s favor tonight.

The Blue Devils (17-1, 3-0 in the ACC) enter their fourth league contest at Wake Forest at 7 p.m. with a proven inside-outside combination, while the Demon Deacons (12-4, 1-2) rely almost exclusively on perimeter threats.

'Its very important for us to have both,' head coach Gail Goestenkors said of her post and wing options.

Offensive choices are not something Wake Forest head coach Mike Peterson can call upon. No Demon Deacon forward is scoring more than 11 points per game--Duke"s post players combine for an average of 37.4 points.

'We"re not going to beat anybody up inside,' Peterson said.

The Demon Deacons will have to defend the basket against the slashing Monique Currie and bruising Mistie Williams, the top offensive rebounder in the ACC. This combination--along with the shot blocking of Alison Bales--has worn defenses down during Duke"s first three conference contests.

The ACC"s leading rebounder, Erin Ferrell, will have to contend with Currie--her former high school teammate and the conference"s fourth-leading rebounder--and Williams on the boards.

Without big bodies in the post, Wake Forest has relied on three-point shooting for a large portion of its offense. In their last game, the Demon Deacons poured in nine three-pointers on their way to to a 78-63 victory over Miami. Reigning ACC Player of the Week Cotelia Bond-Young led the Wake Forest attack, hitting six first-half threes.

'We"ve taken a lot of three-point field goals this year,' Peterson said. 'Fortunately we"ve made a lot of three-point field goals.'

Duke"s own three-point shooting has helped turn every recent contest into a blowout by the game"s end. In consecutive outings, junior Jessica Foley has set a career high for points with 20 and 23, respectively. In those two games, Foley has shot 10-for-17 from beyond the arc, tying a school record with seven threes against the Yellow Jackets. Currie and point guard Wanisha Smith have also delivered from the outside, combining to shoot 8-for-14 for threes against Virginia and Georgia Tech.

Shaky perimeter defense has characterized recent Duke games. Wake Forest will look to emulate Georgia Tech"s Monday night start against the Blue Devils, when the Yellow Jackets recorded 10 three-pointers, including a 6-for-11 performance in the first half.

Because the Demon Deacons are capable of a similar early outburst, the Blue Devils must shore up their unfocused starts. Duke led Virginia by only four points at the half before defeating the Cavaliers by 22. Against Georgia Tech, the Blue Devils trailed at the break for only the second time all season, but outscored the Yellow Jackets by 29 in the second half to win by a deceiving score of 82-59.

'We have not started off the last two games particularly well in the first half,' Goestenkors said. 'I think we understand that we"re not going to get away with that much longer.'


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